Breaking news halts camping trip!

At the weekend the Government announced it was going to introduce the new MenB vaccine into the Childhood Immunisation Programme later this year. We have been campaigning relentlessly for this since the vaccine was licensed for use in the UK a few years ago. It will save thousands of lives.

We knew something might happen at the weekend and we had plans in place to deal with it. 

I was camping in Cirencester and my team were spread around the UK doing their own thing. We had always thought an announcement may happen as Parliament was dissolving on the Monday, but we can't cancel weekends based on  'it might happen'.

I got the first call at around 6pm on Saturday saying something might be happening. It wasn't until later in the evening when (I was going into Bingo) we had confirmation that an announcement was being made under embargo at 12:01 on Sunday. That meant we had to prep it all for go live in a couple of hours.

To be fair, we did have graphics and posts ready for the announcement. It's just that we had to gather the virtual troops together for work on a Saturday night.

The first panic was getting  mobile or wifi signal on the campsite. The other web expert in the team was travelling back from Kent so was out of the picture.

To crush that concern I tried editing our website on my mobile using 3G from the front of my camper van.  It worked a treat, so first panic over. We already had a couple of articles in draft, so I had to tweak some details and get promotions ready.

The glamour of working at midnight from a camper van.

The glamour of working at midnight from a camper van.

As for social, after chatting it through with one of the team, the posts were scheduled to go live at 12:05... so the pressure was on from midnight. The pages had to be live.

The rest of my family went to bed at around 10pm and I read in the camper for the next two hours, checking my watch time after time, as nerves built. Will it go live? Will I have reception at 12? Will I break the embargo by accident?

When the clock hit 12, I hit the 'Publish' button and it went live. No problems. No panics. No mistakes. Phew... The social went live at the correct time and all the links worked. We were the first people to put the news out to the world, which (looking back) was a great moment.

The next day was chaos, as we handled the social media responses. Nearly 600 comments and questions on Facebook in 12 hours.... but that's a different post.